They are everywhere. Hispanic men and women laboring in our restaurants, our construction sites, even our yards. Some of them are probably undocumented. Or, in the Neocon lexicon, "illegal".
If you are a Latino looking to feed his or her family, and are having trouble finding a USD ($) 0.20 per hour job in Guadalajara, but know there is work at $5.00 an hour in los EU (los estados unidos - the good ole' USA), what do you do? You look at your kid, crying because she has no food and is hungry, and what do you do?
Many Latinos decide to go where the work is, where the money is, to los EU. The southern borders are pretty porous, and with the right coyote - a guy who will take your money and get you across the border (maybe) - you can be on US soil in a few days earning that fantastic $5.00/hour, and sending a good portion of it home to your family while you live in a cramped shelter with a dozen others like you. Your shelter is spartan, with minimal sanitary facilities, no amenities, maybe six beds to a room. You don't have any health insurance, you don't have any workplace protection of the OSHA variety, you have no civil rights, and you certainly don't have any US or state government services because you are "undocumented".
But as employed persons - employees in the USA - you are obliged to provide a social security number to work. What to do? You have to fake it, and just pull a 10-digit number out of the air. Because Uncle wants your FICA and Medicare payments (7.65% of your pay), he wants a piece of your pay for income tax withholding, as does the state in which you are working. (OK - this is true only if the employer is obeying the law.) So your $5.00/hour shrinks to $4.00/hour or less because of payments to state entities for services you can not ever avail yourself of because you are "illegal".
I find this situation ludicrous. There is a huge pool of people willing to do the most menial, degrading/dehumanizing work the USA has to offer, for wages at or below the mandated minimum wage, yet we are too stupid to welcome these people. We make them sneak across our border, and forgo their human rights, yet pay their tribute to our government(s), all because they are "illegal".
The neocons want to deport them all. Eight or ten million people sent south "where they came from". Probably in boxcars - perhaps surplus from German WW II rolling stock. "They broke the law and need to be returned to Mexico (or wherever) before we will consider any other solution."
One of the problems of our porous southern border, say the neocons, is that in addition to the migrant workers that come across, there are REAL bad actors like Al Qaeda and others or a terrorist mindset, drugs and drug dealers, spies, and presumably others.
Has it escaped notice that if we didn't have to be trying to control a few hundred thousand migrant farm workers who want only to feed their families, that maybe we could be concentrating on the few thousand people who pose a REAL threat to us? Well, I guess not. An illegal strawberry picker is every bit as odious as a Qaeda operative carrying a piece of a nuclear device.
Think about it: a guest worker program that issues permits for work in los EU for anyone who passes a security check. A rational plan to get these people work at whatever wage they can garner, with withholding according to the law, and with benefits accruing to them same as to any taxpayer.Set up the permitting offices in Mexico AND in los EU. Suddenly, managing the borders becomes a matter of focusing on bad guys. Money is saved. The nation is more secure.
Oh wait - I was thinking there was something rational about our immigration policy. My apologies.